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Generating Sales Leads for Your Business

Quick Notes - Generate Sales Leads:
  • One of the most difficult parts of a sales process is generating leads.
  • Purchasing mailing lists, data mining, internal efficacy, and incentivized reselling are four quick ways to generate sales leads. .

So you’ve mastered basic selling skills, and you think you have command of advanced selling techniques. What if I told you the hardest part about selling was not actually making a sale? What if I said the hardest part about making a sale is finding a lead? I understand the tumultuous hazards involved in closing a sale, but I will go out on a limb and suggest generating sales leads is the single most difficult and time consuming practice for any professional sales practitioner. It is absolutely, no questions asked, the most exhausting and boring part of the sales cycle. But ironically, it is the most important. Well, how do you go about generating sales leads? What is the most cost effective way to create sales leads that will amount to actual sales? Let’s discuss that in the next few paragraphs.

How to Generate Sales Leads


Generating sales leads is as simple as telling your friend about an exciting new product you just purchased. You have essentially developed a sales lead because that person is now more likely to go and research and purchase the new product you indirectly advised him too. Obviously, sales leads have become a little less personal and a lot more technical as technology enables successful prospectors to mass generate leads. Obtaining sales leads can be done a multitude of ways, but for the purposes of this article we will focus on the main methods. These include purchasing mailing lists, data mining, internal efficacy, and incentivized reselling. The method in which you use to cultivate sales leads will depend entirely on your business type, your industry or sector, and your capital or resources available to spend on generating sales leads.

Purchasing Mailing Lists

Creating and maintaining mailing lists was a booming business during the dot com bubble, as it was a new technology that the average consumer was unaware of. Internet users would essentially sign up for an account at a host of web sites or services, and their information would almost instantaneously be sent to a third party to be compiled onto a long list of leads. They would then sell this list to people who wanted access to mass quantities of people in order to try and sell their products or services. The company that purchases these lists ends up systematically e-mailing or phoning the people on the list in an effort to get them interested in their business. Unfortunately, purchasing mailing lists from service providers has become taboo in today’s online business world. Privacy Policies are usually now entrenched with clauses that ensure users’ data will not be sold or reproduced. This was done to protect consumers in a time when identity theft and fraud were prominent in the online marketplace. Furthermore, the cost to obtain these mailing lists can amount to substantial figures. It is usually out of the budget of most small or even medium sized businesses. Not only do most businesses not have the capital to outright purchase these lists, they don’t have the manpower to successfully execute a sales campaign on the lists themselves.

Data Mining

Data mining is the process of extracting data from various sources and retaining it to analyze for patterns and other commonalities. Marketers frequently data mine user lists, forums, social networking sites, and raw mailing lists for the sole intent of generating sales leads for their company. This is arguably the most time consuming method, as it requires manual extraction. However if you have the time to commit to extracting data and do not have the resources to buy mailing lists, it may be your most suitable option.

Internal Efficacy

Internal efficacy is the idea that if your internal employees and organization are happy, satisfied, and efficient, they will be more interested in generating personal sales leads through their own personal contact networks. They may not only help produce more sales through family and friends, but they may be more interested in working extra hard to make sales and sales leads through advanced selling techniques. High morale essentially leads to more leads. Keeping your employees happy also has other desired effects that are extremely valuable to your overall success as a business.

Incentivized Reselling

Incentivized Reselling enlists the assistance of resellers or affiliates who work to generate sales leads through their network of contacts or colleagues for a portion of the sale. They may be paid outright as a contractor, or they may be paid on a per sale basis. They provide the sales skills and sales strategies to bring customers to your business, and you provide them with incentive to do so. Incentivized Reselling can also be adopted to compliment internal efficacy measures. This is an excellent way to encourage your employees and partners to take ownership and be involved with their company. It is after all in their best interest to see your business succeed.
Generating sales leads is the first step in making a successful sales strategy, but also entails the greatest difficulty. It is also something that should be done and encouraged throughout the life cycle of your business. Do not simply generate leads when you need leads. Show an initiative to maintain a positive overflow of leads and your business will see continued success and maintain its productivity. At the end of the day, this will contribute nicely to your bottom line.